Andy Murray has made it through to the final of the Cincinatti Masters for the second time in his career with a straight sets win over home favourite Mardy Fish.
It was clear from the outset that the crowd were solidly behind the current American number one player. Fresh from his victory over Rafael Nadal, it would be foolish to underestimate the level of tennis Fish would bring to this semi-final.
However, Murray himself came into the match yet to drop a set this tournament and, within the first few games of the first set, showed Fish why. Murray raced to a 3-1 lead and then continued to put pressure on Fish’s serve, forcing further break points at 4-2.Read more (453 words)
Serving for the set, Murray briefly gave Fish some hope by allowing the American two break points of his own. However, some reasonably impressive from the Scot saw him make seven of eleven first serves and he was able to step up inside the baseline, dictate the final points and take the set.
It seemed his dominance would continue as Murray immediately showed his intent by racing to 0-40 in first service game of the second set. Thanks to a correct challenge on a Fish first serve, he secured that early break. However, this was only the beginning of a most bizarre passage of play. In the second game of the set, Murray served an appalling seventeen percent of first serves to practically hand the advantage and momentum to Fish. Both men managed to hold serve in the following two games, despite whisper of a chance on the Fish serve created by forehand winner from Murray.
Once again, Murray looked to move ahead in the set as a poor game by Fish allowed Murray an easy break. Nonetheless, this would be the first of four service breaks in a row before Fish finally held at 5-4 and forced Murray to hold serve for only the second time in the set to stay in it. Clearly, as Fish’s last two matches had gone to third set tie breaks, he was not likely to give up easily. Yet both men seemed to have found a rhythm on serve and the second set went to an inevitable tie-break.
The inconsistencies of the set continued into tie break as both men traded early mini-breaks and soon the score was levelled at 5-5. An uncharacteristic first serve from Murray set up the first match point. However, it was on the Fish serve and he saved it with a stunning topspin forehand. Fish gained his own set point on the Murray serve at 8-7, but Murray took both of his service points to create another opportunity to win the match.
The drama only continued as a controversial line call on this match point meant that the umpire had called game set and match to Murray before a hawk-eye challenge proved Murray’s return was out. Nonetheless, this seemed to leave Fish floundering and Murray took the second point to set up his first match point on serve and this time makes no mistake. Andy Murray took the tie-break 10-8 to win the match 6-3, 7-6.
This win sets up the eighth Masters series final of his career. Murray achieved his first win at Masters level with an epic victory over Novak Djokovic in this tournament in 2008. Many fans will be hoping that tomorrow will see a repeat of history.